If you were a '90s kid, you probably remember Melissa Joan Hart from some of your favorite TV shows and movies such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Clarissa Explains It All, and Drive Me Crazy. In celebration of the 100th episode of her ABC Family show Melissa & Joey, the '90s icon stopped by BuzzFeed New York to discuss her career throughout the decades and what we can expect from her next.
1. What was your favorite episode out of the 100 you’ve filmed for Melissa & Joey?
Melissa Joan Hart: My favorite was probably the Dancing With The Stars one, where Joey had to dance with Mark Ballas. I also really loved our Christmas episode this year where we went back to the 1880s — it was so fun to do old-fashioned language with modern comedy.
2. What was your most embarrassing moment on set?
MJH: In the Christmas episode, Taylor — who plays Lennox — and I had to wear corsets, and we practiced all week wearing hoop skirts because we thought that would be important to practice in, but we never bothered to practice in the corsets. And something happens where my dad turns with a cane and we’re supposed to duck, but I didn’t realize trying to duck with a corset on would make me go down like a tree. So I kinda took her with me — I forgot to duck, she grabbed me, we almost got hit in the head, and then we both went down sideways. And it was, I mean we were in tears and they had to fix our makeup — it took us a while to recover from that one!
3. Do you think Joey would actually be a good nanny?
MJH: I think Joey would be a great nanny actually. Everything's gotta be clean, super safe, and he's actually really adorable with kids. So actually, yeah, that's probably the one thing I would let him do is babysit my kids.
4. If you could be on any other ABC Family show, what would it be?
MJH: I wanna be on PLL. They always look fabulous and all so sinister and evil. I wanna be on that.
5. Since you and Joey were both huge stars in the '90s, did you know each other back then? Or did you meet on the set of your ABC Family film Fake Fiance?
MJH: Joey and I met when we were 4, all around auditions in New York. And then we became friends and just kind of knew each other — our moms knew each other, our families knew each other. And the first time we got to work together was Fake Fiance.
6. Would you actually be able to live without technology for an entire weekend, like on the show?
MJH: I would love to live without technology. I would love to live the Amish lifestyle for like maybe two weeks. I’d love to have to figure out what that’s like — go get your eggs, go find your milk, go walk to the neighbor's house and I don't know, churn butter. I think that would be very exciting. Technology, I don't know, it’s kind of like another job. I kind of would love to have to get rid of it.
7. Have you ever thought of becoming a politician like your character?
MJH: I have thought a lot about getting into politics. I’m getting really into being like a newshound and a news junkie, and I love to debate and talk about controversial topics with people. So, I don't know, I think it would be really interesting. But not yet!
8. What was it like working with Salem on Sabrina?
MJH: There were three different ways you did Salem. There was a stuffed cat, a live cat, and an animatronic cat. And so depending on what the scene called for, sometimes you'd have all three. So it was always fun but it was always a challenge. The set smelled like cat food, it was kind of gross.
9. What was your favorite Sabrina episode?
MJH: I think my favorite episode was the pancake episode. But you know, I remember the episodes different than everybody else at home does, because I remember them from a behind-the-scenes perspective and what was fun to do, and other people remember them as episodes. I never actually watched the finished episodes — because I didn't have to live-tweet back then! If I wasn't watching it on Friday night, why was I watching it? You know you can't go back to Tivo it, it wasn't really on DVD, so it wasn't really easy to watch it back then as a repeat. So I have to say the most fun was the pancake one, because I was digging through trash cans and got to be really physical and that was fun. I have these different memories of them, but I think I remember that as the most fun. I think I even forgot I tap danced with Dick Van Dyke — somebody even reminded me of that. You're kind of in your own little world. Even these wonderful things that happened, sometimes they don't stand out as much as they should and later on you look and you're like, Why didn't I realize that was happening?!
10. It seemed like Clarissa’s parents were cool with Sam, so why didn’t he just come in through the front door?
MJH: I never asked the showrunner, but he's coming out with a book, I forget, it’s called something like Being Clarissa. But you should ask him. I just think it was a funky, silly thing they did.
11. What do you think Clarissa would have been like in the age of social media?
MJH: Clarissa kind of invented social media. I mean she did all that Snapchat stuff before anyone did — all the drawing of the pictures and the graphics and computer games and interactive stuff, so she would've been at the forefront of that. I mean she probably would have invented Facebook before Zuckerberg.
12. Do you keep in contact with your Clarissa/ Sabrina cast mates?
MJH: I don't really keep in touch with the cast as much as I keep in touch with the crew. When you're on the set from beginning to end, the people that are on the set from beginning to end are the crew. The other people come in and out for scenes and stuff. I always really related more to the crew.
13. What do you think about the way teen shows have changed since the '90s–'00s?
MJH: I think teen shows these days have really matured a lot. They're not written for the same age demographic that Clarissa or Sabrina was written for. If you look at Sabrina or Clarissa my mom wouldn't let them pluck my eyebrows, I really didn't have lipstick, like I had some foundation and a little bit of rouge and that was it. I was not all made up. If you look at Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana at 13 she was like MADE UP. And if you look at the kids it’s a whole different thing.
14. What was your favorite outfit from Drive Me Crazy?
MJH: I wore the red halter — it was built for me but it was really rough. I wore that for like, most of the movie. But I do remember working like crazy, I mean I was working out twice a day and juicing nonstop that entire movie because I didn't think I was in good enough shape to be in that outfit, and now I'm like, Why didn't I just enjoy that? But I was working hard. I was swimming, I was going in a sauna because I had to be in a bikini in one of the scenes and I was so nervous about it. But I was 22! It was fine.
15. In your book Melissa Explains It All you talked about sneaking Britney in a back door to take her out — were there any other crazy or fun moments you guys had while hanging out?
MJH: Britney and I did a lot of press together in New York, Utah, L.A., on the set of her video, on the set of Sabrina. So we did a lot together, a ton of awards shows and stuff. But yeah, I snuck her away from her bodyguard to take her because she just looked liked she needed to be around people her own age. One time I was like, “Do you want to get lunch?” and she [turned to her team and] said, “Can I go to lunch?” They said, “No, you can’t go to lunch, you have to go to the gym and then you have vocal lessons and then you have to be here, you have to be there, you have a commercial shoot, and then you have to get ready for tour next week.” I was just like, poor girl. I was like, “Let’s pretend we’re just going to my mom’s house tonight and I’ll get you away and we’ll go dancing.” So that’s what we did.
16. Which of your characters do you relate to most?
MJH: Well my characters are like my children, I can’t just choose one, but, Clarissa was really cool; I was probably the most like Clarissa. Sabrina was too...not wishy-washy, but she didn’t stand up for herself, she wanted to blend in, and I don’t relate to that at all. She just wanted no attention like, Everyone just leave me alone, I’ll fix it I’ll fix it, you know, that kind of girl. So I didn’t really relate to her but I had a blast on the set. With Mel, she was the most fun character to play for sure because I got to be so over the top, so silly, so selfish, so flawed, so drunk, you know. So I really got to go over the top with her and it was very loosey-esque, so that was really fun to play. If I was friends with any of them, it would probably be Clarissa.
17. Have your kids watched your shows?
MJH: My kids have tried to watch a little bit of Clarissa and Sabrina but never really picked up on it, but now their friends are starting to watch it so now maybe somewhere along the way they’ll start watching it.
18. Do they think it’s weird seeing you on TV?
MJH: They don’t think it’s weird. You know, today, it’s not weird to see people on TV anymore because you see yourself on YouTube, they’re constantly making movies with their friends on their iPad and watching them back, they’re using iMovie and stuff. To them, it’s just normal, which is weird now that it’s not special anymore to be on TV.
19. What’s next after Melissa & Joey? Is there something on your career bucket list?
MJH: I just started a new adventure, I started a clothing line called King of Harts and it’s for little boys, you can find it at kingofharts.com. It’s really been such fun to start a business, to be a CEO, and to design these clothes and to go out to the trade shows and the factories, and we’re making it in the USA so I’m really excited about that. That’s such a fun adventure for me, my parents were entrepreneurs and so I like the idea of being in the business world. The art world, there’s nothing tangible. When I make the clothes, there they are, I get to touch them and feel them and have them and give them away! So that’s been really fun and exciting and that’s the adventure I’m on right now. Melissa & Joey ended as far as shooting goes. We have the 100th episode, and then we have two more episodes that I really, really love. It will be over in August and I’m just taking the summer to be with my boys, start this new business, maybe learn how to cook, maybe learn Italian, I don’t know!